Reinventing the Post Office

Six surprising ways to serve a nation with less snail mail

Illustration by Todd Detwiler for TIME

Retrieving the Post Office. Six surprising ways to serve a nation with less snail mail.

Plummeting mail volume. Bad press. Losses topping $3.2 billion in a single quarter. If the U.S. Postal Service is going to survive, let alone thrive, in the age of digital communication, "it has to take innovation seriously," says Steve Hutkins, a professor at New York University and founder of That means thinking beyond the solutions being debated in Congress--shuttering offices, reducing health care costs, eliminating Saturday delivery--and fundamentally reshaping its business. But what could a 21st century post office actually do? TIME gathered outside-the-mailbox ideas from economists, bloggers, overseas postal workers and more.



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